When making plans for the future, we understand that financial consideration is one of the biggest factors in deciding whether to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or stay at home. That’s why we sat down with Woodlands Chief Financial Officer Eileen Wheeldon, who has more than two decades of experience helping seniors pick the best value for their future, to discuss how moving to Woodlands could be the best financial option for retirement.

What contract is offered for Woodlands residents?

Woodlands offers the LifeCare contract, and it is the only CCRC in the tristate area to offer this contract. “The contract provides security so that when someone moves onto the higher level of care, they’re going to pay  a comparable rate for assisted living that they paid in independent living.”

The LifeCare contract, formally known as extensive agreement, provides long-term healthcare services at reduced rates. Healthcare rates for assisted living, memory care and nursing care are based on independent living residence expenses instead of market rates. LifeCare essentially works like an insurance product. New residents pay a larger initial entrance fee, which is partially tax-deductible, that guarantees access to long-term healthcare services at a controlled and substantially reduced price. “Woodland’s promise is once the prospective resident signs the contract is that we’re going to take care of them, no matter what,” Eileen said.

How is this different from contracts at other CCRCs?

Some CCRCs offer fee-for-service rather than a LifeCare plan. “With fee for service, you pay one rate when you’re in independent living, a different rate for assisted living, another rate in memory care and the top rate in a skilled nursing facility,” Eileen disclosed to us. “So, in a skilled nursing facility in today’s market, it’s going to cost you around $10,000 a month, whereas if you’re in a LifeCare contract, it’s closer to $3,500 to $4,000 a month.”

The average person who moves to Woodlands under the LifeCare contract saves $126,000+ over his or her lifetime versus those who stay at home or those who choose a fee-for-service agreement if they need care. LifeCare is simply the better financial option.

How can someone plan in advance to move into a CCRC?

For future Woodlands residents, Eileen listed considerations to make when thinking about long-term financial plans. “I would take a look at my investments, and I would also take a look at my long-term assets. Often times your number one long-term asset is your home.” It’s important to make the decision as to what you plan on doing with your property far in advance of moving into a retirement community. If selling is the plan, take the steps to prepare your home to be sellable on the market.

Next, review your personal finances and consult a financial advisor, if needed. Woodlands is private pay. However, should you have a long-term care policy, Woodlands would help with filing that for you. The Woodlands team helps new residents determine which options are the best financial decision for them to ensure financial perpetuity not only for the residents, but also for their family and assets.

You’ll also want to think about legal documents and build a plan with your family. Make sure you have a financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, a will and a living will. Ensure that these documents are accessible to your family.

Planning in advance is key for ensuring an easy transition into Woodlands. “You can be five years too early, but you can’t be five minutes too late,” Eileen said. To learn more about the LifeCare contract at Woodlands and start planning now, call the team at 304-697-1620 or visit the website now.

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